Emergency Rescue Equipments
First aid is the immediate care given to victims of accidents before trained medical workers arrive. Its goal is to stop and, if possible, reverse harm. It involves rapid and simple measures such as clearing the air passageway, applying pressure to bleeding wounds or dousing chemical burns to eyes or skin.
The critical factors which shape first aid facilities in a workplace are work-specific risk and availability of definitive medical care. The care of a high-powered saw injury is obviously radically different from that of a chemical inhalation.
From a first aid perspective, a severe thigh wound occurring near a surgical hospital requires little more than proper transport; for the same injury in a rural area eight hours from the nearest medical facility, first aid would include-among other things-debridement, tying off bleeding vessels and administration of tetanus immunoglobulin and antibiotics.
First aid is a fluid concept not only in what (how long, how complex) must be done, but in who can do it. Though a very careful attitude is required, every worker can be trained in the top five or ten do’s and don’ts of first aid. In some situations, immediate action can save life, limb or eyesight. Co-workers of victims should not remain paralyzed while waiting for trained personnel to arrive. Moreover, the “top-ten” list will vary with each workplace and must be taught accordingly.
First aid cannot be planned in isolation. First aid requires an organized approach involving people, equipment and supplies, facilities, support and arrangements for the removal of victims and non-victims from the site of an accident. Organizing first aid should be a cooperative effort, involving employers, occupational health and public health services, the labour inspectorate, plant managers and relevant non-governmental organizations. Involving workers themselves is essential: they are often the best source on the likelihood of accidents in specific situations.
Whatever the degree of sophistication or the absence of facilities, the sequence of actions to be taken in the case of an unforeseen event must be determined in advance. This must be done taking due account of existing and potential occupational and non-occupational hazards or occurrences, as well as ways of obtaining immediate and appropriate assistance. Situations vary not only with the size of the enterprise but also with its location (in a town or a rural area) and with the development of the health system and of labour legislation at the national level.
As regards the organization of first aid, there are several key variables to be considered:
- type of work and associated level of risk
- potential hazards
- size and layout of the enterprise
- other enterprise characteristics (e.g., configuration)
- availability of other health services.